Distinctive Travels Distinctive Travels
Resorts Hotels Cruises Tours Spas

Edinburgh, Scotland
web: eif.co.uk
email: marketing@eif.co.uk

By Rosalind Friedman, Correspondent

During the last three weeks of August, over 2,400 performers entertain well-over 300,000 people who flock to the historic city of Edinburgh to enjoy The Edinburgh International Festival. Here they are enlightened by four festivals that comprise all forms of theatre, music, dance, poetry, comedy and tragedy, played out at the Royal Lyceum, King's Theater, Usher Hall, The Queen's Theatre, and The Edinburgh Festival Theatre.

The Edinburgh International Festival, was established in 1949, soon after World War II. It includes The Fringe Festival which fills the streets with impromptu and rehearsed performances from groups and individuals, playing instruments, and acting out skits and plays along the broad cobblestone streets of the Royal Mile in the old city.

This festival provides some type of entertainment from early in the morning to midnight, and spills over into every nook and cranny of this charming town. One can sit at an outdoor cafe and enjoy watching Buskers offering their particular talents, ranging from a violinist to a mime to a man flying and selling the world's tiniest kite. There is also a major Film Festival and Book Festival, where famed actors, actresses and authors come from far and wide to talk about their works.

Theatrical troupes the world over give the Festival great panache. There are also concerts, chorales, ballets and operas, and the thrilling Military Tattoo, a show of pageantry, patriotism, music and dance that takes place every night of the festival from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Held on a carpark in the shelter of the majestic Edinburgh Castle, it takes 6 weeks to erect the stands and the sophisticated lights for the thousands to attend.

This year the colorful spectacle included Massed Pipes and Drums, riding majestic horses, the colorful Barbados Defence Force Band accompanied by the stilt-walking "Jumbies," The Tattoo Scottish Dancers who charged onto the football-sized field with music and drama.

With this plethora of choices, you soon learn that you can't see everything; in fact, choosing from the many schedules is an activity in itself, but well worth the effort. Toward the top of the Royal Mile on the way to Edinburgh Castle, there is a new meeting place in the HUB dedicated to the festival. It contains a large indoor cafe, a book and gift store and a place to buy tickets.

Edinburgh Castle // Tours are given daily at this grand castle which symbolizes the independence of Scotland. Begun around 1000 A.D. and towering high above the city, the castle is forever fascinating. One never tires of visiting this majestic structure, which houses the State Apartments, Queen Mary's Bedrooms, where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI, along with the scepter and the sword of the State of Scotland. The only fragment left of the original castle is St. Margaret's Chapel, built in the Norman style, a 12th century oblong building. There are ice cream shops, outdoor cafes and, of course, a large gift shop inside the castle walls.

By Rosalind Friedman, Correspondent

Edinburgh and the whole of Scotland is tremendously busy during August and September. You MUST book your accommodations early if you want to stay in the city or the surrounding countryside. Hotels and B& B's of every type abound. Edinburgh and Lothians Tourist Board can help you with reservations from the fanciest hotels to the simplest B& B's and guest houses. ELTB, 3 Princess Street, Edinburgh, Eh22QP. Tel. +44 (0) 131-475-3800

Three Hotels:
The Balmoral

( A Rocco Forte New Hotel Group):
1 Princess Street
EH2 2EQ Scotland
Tel: 0131055602414
Fax: 1031 5573747
Reservations: 0131-556-1111

The stately and most prestigious five-star Balmoral, combining the noble character of a Scottish baronial home with the classic sophistication of an international hotel, is conveniently located next to the central railway station and 20 minutes by car from Edinburgh Airport. After a long history, the hotel was closed from 1988 to 1991 for a complete multi-million pound refurbishment, which restored it to its former glory. There are 165 bedrooms, many of which offer superb views of Edinburgh. In-room: 2-line phones, dataport, interactive TV, fax machine, voice messaging, mini-bar. Conference & Banqueting: 10 spectacular function suites and ballrooms offering some of the most dramatic views in Scotland. A fully-staffed business center, offering state-of -the- art equipment and facilities. Health Spa and fitness center with pool, gym, steam, sauna and a wide variety of beauty and therapy treatments.

Restaurants in The Balmoral // Number One, an award-winning restaurant serves a formal luncheon and dinner. Hadrian's Restaurant & Bar open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner; chic, cosmopolitan dining at reasonable prices. Palm Court with magnificent glass dome is open for all-day dining and afternoon tea in Edwardian refinement. Lobby bar for a relaxed atmosphere in the Scottish hunting tradition NB's Pub for a pint of ale hearty local fair and live music with Scotland's top performers.

We stayed in the Carlton Highland Hotel, on North Bridge, convenient to everything.

Carlton Highland Hotel: A Scottish Highland Hotel
North Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1SD
Tel: 0131-472-3000
Reservations & Sales Fax: 0131-556-2691
Guest Fax: 10310472-3097

Located in Edinburgh city center, eight miles from Edinburgh Airport and 500 yards from Waverly train station (London-Edinburgh 4 hours 10 minutes),the Carlton is only minutes from Princess Street, Edinburgh Castle and Holyroodhouse Palace. It is the perfect place to stay if you are attending the Edinburgh Festival. This four star, 5 Crown highly commended hotel, which was once a department store, reflects a warm atmosphere and the perfect balance of traditional style and modern facilities.One hundred and ninety-seven Bedrooms and Suites decorated in tartan plaid boast private bathrooms, bathtubs and showers, telephone, hairdryer, trouser press, minibar, satellite color TV, and in-room tea and coffee facilities.

Restaurants at the Carlton // Three different styles of dining provides variety: Quills is refined and expensive. Eureka! is a colorful and spacious dining room, which serves a breakfast buffet in both Scottish and American-style, as well as lunch and dinner with good selections. EspressoXPress, a modern, relaxed coffee shop, serving freshly-baked croissants, muffins, light snacks and sandwiches, is open until late at night. There are extensive Banquet Facilities.

Don't miss the very comfortable and hospitable second-floor lounge, which is open from early morning until late at night, where coffee, drinks, high tea, and snacks and desserts are served. A piano player entertains in the evening providing a warm and popular meeting place for the people of the city, as well as a haven for weary tourists.

Prestonfield House
Priestfield Road, Edinburgh EH116 5UT
Tel: 0131-668-3346
Fax: 01310668-3976
E-mail: Prestonfield_House@compuserve.com

Proud Peacocks strut around this historic mansion, built in 1687; set on 13 acres of gardens and park land and surrounded by a golf course, it is only minutes from Princess Street. This charming estate has 31 bedrooms, and also contains a separate building known as the early 19th century Round Stables--one of only two such buildings in the country. Opened as a hotel in 1959, Prestonfield boasts the oval-shaped Old Dining Room, an elegant and superb 5 star a la carte restaurant, open 7 days a week for lunch and supper. The central circular court of the Round Stables caters to special groups and can provide any arrangements for wedding or meetings.

Restaurants Scene in General // Edinburgh is loaded with pubs, cafes and restaurants, outdoor and indoor. Fresh fish and lamb are the most popular choices, but chicken, hamburger and French fries, as well as pizza can easily be found. A native dish, "Haggis," consisting of sheep's offal, minced and seasoned, mixed with oatmeal then boiled in a bag made from the animal's stomach, is an acquired taste. You must stop and have a pint of ale and Shepherd's Pie at Deacon Brodie's Tavern, a famed stop on the Royal Mile.

Transportation Tips // Edinburgh has excellent road, rail and air connections. If you are planning to visit the Festival, it is strongly suggested that you do not bring your car, as parking and getting around the city can be difficult---or even impossible. Most Festival venues are located within the city center area and are easily reached on foot, by bus or by taxis---which are plentiful and relatively inexpensive.

Shopping // There is a woolen or cashmere shop on every corner of Edinburgh, sporting the latest Clan Tartan, Kilt, scarf, shawl or sweater. The prices are high, but somewhat less expensive for good quality than the U.S.Try things on and keep your receipts. If you're a scotch drinker or know a friend who is, Scotland is where it is brewed - you can sample to your heart's content and take home a bottle or two.

Jenner's Department Store // 48 Princess Street, is a full-service store, which along with fine clothes for men and women, home furnishings and cosmetics, boasts a podiatrist!

Tips // If you are considering this interesting journey, you must plan ahead, because everything fills up quickly--months ahead. Bring your hiking shoes. Visitors are dressed in woolens and wind breakers to protect against the cool fall-like weather. Edinburgh is built on volcanic rock. The streets, a series of hills and mountains, present a challenge at every corner. Most importantly, it is a family destination. People are friendly and helpful. The Edinburgh International Conference Center is located in the center of the city.

By Rosalind Friedman, Correspondent

The Queen's Official Residence Palace of Holyroodhouse, Cannongate, at the eastern end of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh // Built in the 1600's, Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and James VII, have all lived in this beautifully elegant castle. The old wing was the scene of a 1566 murder. David Rizzio, Mary Queen of Scots' secretary, was stabbed 56 times in front of the pregnant Mary's eyes by her husband, Lord Darnley, and his accomplices. On the tour, which is available except for the last two weeks in May and 3 weeks in late June and early July, or when the Queen is in residence, Rizzio's dried blood stains are pointed out with much drama. Queen Elizabeth takes up residence only one week a year to conduct business; but, the Queen Mother spends quite a bit of time, here, in a suite of royal apartments.

The famed St. Andrews Golf Club // Home of the game of golf where all rules are established. Even if you don't play the game, it's a lovely place to visit and heave a hearty lunch, a drink or a spot of tea, while watching the sportsmen and women fight the wind and the dunes.

Names in Lights // Names of some Scotsmen who have made the world a better place:

Robert Burns, the poet
Robert Louis Stevenson, the novelist
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes
Alexander Graham Bell, father of the telephone
Andrew Carnegie, philanthropist, endowing 28000 libraries world wide
Sir Arthur Fleming, inventor of penicillin

By Rosalind Friedman, Correspondent

Recently, My husband and I attended a joyous international party, The Edinburgh Festival, where the distinctive sounds of Bagpipes jauntily resound in the air, reminding us at all times that we were in Scotland. Not only did we revel in the wondrously challenging theatrical offerings, some of which went on for many hours, but also in the Fringe Festival that fills the heart and mind with true laughter. Edinburgh, a combination of the very old and the new, boasts a fine court system and is also proud to be the seat of the new Parliament. It is a unique experience; we were not surprised to meet many people who return again and again to the Festival.


WHEN: August - September


+44 (0) 131 473 2099